Syracuse Tennis Hits The Road For Final Stretch of Season
By Sam Reis | @SamuelReisTV
Citrus TV Tennis Beat Reporter
Over two months into the season, Drumlins Tennis Club has been a very familiar venue for Syracuse. 12 of 16 matches for the Orange have taken place at their home facility. Sunday’s loss to No. 1 North Carolina marked the last one. With at least a month left in the season, Syracuse will do plenty of traveling to close out the season.
The lengthy stretch of road matches begins on Friday with a visit to No. 7 NC State. SU remains in North Carolina to face No. 27 Wake Forest on Sunday. After that, there is a 12 day gap until the penultimate contest of the regular season when Syracuse plays No. 22 Notre Dame in South Bend. The weekend is capped off with the regular season finale at Louisville on April 16th. The traveling does not end there as the ACC Tournament takes place in Cary, North Carolina. That begins on April 19th.
With four regular season matches remaining, Syracuse aims to get back on track to close out the season and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Unless the Orange can somehow catapult up to a top 16 seed in the rankings once the ACC Tournament concludes, that would mean another road trip. The point is that while Syracuse wrapped up play at Drumlins this past weekend, there is still plenty of season left and a lot of travel along with it.
The layout of the schedule is reasonable considering SU had a lot of non-conference opponents come to them and its home facility is indoors. At the same time, adjusting from playing so many matches at home to being on the road for a long period of time won’t be an easy task. Additionally, most of their matches going forward will be outdoors, a notable adjustment from playing indoors in every match of the season so far. The Orange had an opportunity to play outdoors two weeks ago when they played at Clemson and Georgia Tech, but on both occasions the weather conditions moved the matches to their indoor facilities.
All of these obstacles are a part of what comes with playing in the most difficult conference in the country. Currently there are seven ACC teams ranked top 25 in the country. The good news for Syracuse is that it has already faced five of those teams. Four of SU’s five losses have come to teams ranked in the top 25.
While it has been a frustrating four match losing streak for the Orange, they are ranked No. 28 in the country and have the opportunity to get back in the win column before the ACC Tournament arrives. One big concern that still lingers is the health of the team. Junior Ines Fonte suffered an ankle injury against Duke that forced her to forfeit her singles match and completely sit out of the dual against North Carolina on Sunday. Her status for this weekend remains unknown. With a roster of six, having just five players available going forward would mean having to forfeit a doubles and singles match. That would be extremely costly and is something Syracuse can not afford.
It might not be pretty, but the opportunity to turn things around is there for the taking as the postseason approaches. Head coach Younes Limam knows what his team is capable of when playing at their best and hopes that his players can return to that form and have a winning mentality. Syracuse is in a position to get back to the NCAA Tournament. This next month is likely to play a vital role in determining the fate of the Orange once the time rolls around for the bracket release.